Monday, 17 October 2011

BBC Cuts - Save Country Music on BBC Radio

Proposed BBC Cuts Threaten Country Music Programmes on the BBC
Last week it announced in the press that The BBC has announced it will axe 2,000 jobs and make widespread cuts to programming to save £670 million a year by 2016/17.

BBC cuts in detail:    

Looking at the details as it stands they are looking to axe all specialist shows across the BBC network especially those outside of peak hours and at the weekends. As a result of this it will mean that potentially ALL country music programmes across the BBC regions could face the axe. These specialist country programmes have the biggest FM listener reach than any other UK radio Stations as the country programmes disappeared from commercial radio programmes years ago.
Since the end of December 2010 we have already seen 3 BBC country shows scrapped in a way to make savings so this new BBC consultation could be the final nail in the coffin.

Cuts In Brief Proposals
BBC Radio 2
Safeguard the mainstay of daytime programmes
Replace regular comedy programmes with comedy showcases and ad-hoc comedy series, in order to continue to develop new comedy talent
Reduce the amount of live music broadcast on the station, by a small increase in the number of repeats of Friday Night is Music Night and In Concert re-cast as an occasional event within the weekday evening shows

BBC Local Radio
Focus spend on peak-time programmes - breakfast, mid-morning and drivetime - sport, and faith on Sunday mornings
Increase levels of sharing in off-peak slots: weekday afternoons, Sunday afternoons and evenings
On weekday afternoons most stations would share programming with their neighbouring stations, although a few, which serve a particularly distinct audience, would remain separate
On weekday evenings between 7pm and 10pm, programming would be shared across England, with all stations coming together except when providing local sports commentaries.

At other off-peak periods sharing would occur at a variety of levels. Some would be akin to the regional television areas, and during the late evening in five larger areas: the North; the West Midlands; the East Midlands; the East and South East; and the West and South West
All stations would broadcast Radio 5 Live from 1am until the start of their breakfast programme.

Already we are beginning to see evidence and fears of these proposed cuts and the repercussions they will have for COUNTRY MUSIC in the UK
1 )  The Shropshire Star reported: A number of shows on Radio Shropshire could be axed as part of the BBC’s plans to cut 20 per cent from its budget over the next five years.

The station, which has offices in Shrewsbury and Telford, will lose 20 per cent of its workforce as 8.5 jobs are axed.
Today a BBC spokesman said there would be more programme-sharing for local radio outside peak hours, including the creation of an all-evening England programme.

Marie Crichton BBC Radio Shropshire at
The UK Country Radio Awards

He said: “These proposals protect BBC local radio peak-time programmes when the audience is highest and the output is the most distinctive. That is breakfast, mid-morning and drive-time programmes, plus sport and faith on Sunday mornings.
The shows currently likely to be affected by these proposals are Ian Perry’s Early Morning Show, 5am to 6am; Colin Young’s Lunchtime Show, noon to 3pm; Paul Shuttleworth’s Sunday lunchtime show, 1pm to 3pm; and specialist evening shows such as folk, jazz, country, the Trunk of Funk and the Jim Hawkins Rock Show, on Saturdays 6pm to 9pm.
“The proposals are subject to consultation by the BBC Trust, but the proposal is to implement the changes by April 2013.”

Unfortunately it looks like Marie Crichton’s country show on BBC Radio Shropshire will be one of hundreds of victims of these new cuts. They are looking to axe all specialist shows from Shropshire and the impression is that it could be across the board.

Joe Fish BBC Radio Lancashire

 2 ) In an email Joe Fish a former CMA Broadcaster Of The Year who presents “Joe Fish Country” on BBC Radio Lancashire said
For those who listen to my radio programme on BBC Radio Lancashire I wanted to make you aware that the recently announced BBC cut-backs have resulted in decisions which will mean all Specialist programmes including Joe Fish Country will be removed from the station. If you have strong views on this, or the future of local radio, I would ask that you complete the SHORT survey using the link below, to voice your views

3) Paul Braithwaite on BBC Radio Cumbria ended his show on Sunday 9 October, 2011 saying:
   "It's been an interesting week here at the BBC,  were rounding off with Burns And Poe, I NEED A JOB !"

Allan Watkiss-BBC Radio Sheffield 18Sept2011

4) On BBC Radio Sheffield on Sunday 16 October, 2011 country artist Mike Lane  - (website) who hails from Doncaster was interviewed by current CMA Broadcaster Award recipient Allan Watkiss on the “Your Country” programme.

The subject of the cuts was broached.

Mike Lane - “I heard a whisper that there’s going to be some cuts”

Allan Watkiss – “Yeah its true the BBC is making 20% cuts and it puts programmes like this at risk. Basically in our area they have decided that programming on Sunday afternoons will be shared with other neighbouring stations

Mike Lane -“What other neighbouring stations”?
Allan Watkiss - “Leeds and York for example they are in a similar region. There is no guarantee that this programme will be included

Mike Lane - “I am in this position how sitting in front of this microphone talking to your fans that you have built and I would appeal to all of them to ask the BBC bosses to think twice should they even be thinking of axing this programme. It would be such a sad loss, it really really would and your not costing anybody money because you have no assistant”

Allan Watkiss – “Thank you Mike very much for your support....Its no good saying anything to me I won’t be making any of the decisions. I just turn up till told otherwise. There is a website to have a look at . The BBC Trust is the organization that makes the full decisions. I also think there is a case to convince the management here at BBC Radio Sheffield who I have to say have always been really supportive of this show, all the way through its 10 years. This show is up against others to be saved so maybe there is a case if you want to save the show to contacting the management here directly
SOURCE - Listen Back from 1 hour 46mins available till 23 October

List of BBC Programmes who currently broadcast a country music programme
These go out on FM and right around the World on the Internet via the BBC iPlayer with shows archived for Listen Again for 7 Days

BBC Radio 2Bob Harris Country Thurs 7 - 8pm – Show Page
Station total Audience - 13,966,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Cumbria - Paul Braithwaite “Braithwaites Country” Sunday 7 - 9pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 147,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio EssexSteve Cherelle  Essex Country” Sunday 2 - 4 pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 294,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Kent ‘The Country Hour ‘ Roger Day +  Guest presenter (Alan Cackett or Steve Cherelle) – Weds 9 - 10pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 244,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Kent - Dave Cash classic years and an hour of country music from Sunday 7pm – 8pm – Show Page

BBC Radio Lancashire - Joe Fish Sunday 2 - 4pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 229,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Merseyside - Kenny Johnson Sunday 6 - 8pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 338,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Norfolk - Keith Greentree “Rodeo Norfolk Saturday 9am-12 - Show Page
Station total Audience - 235,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio Shropshire - Marie Crichton Monday 7 - 9pm - Show Page
Station total Audience - 115,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

BBC Radio SheffieldAllan Watkiss “Your Country” Sun 4 - 7pm -  Show Page
Station total Audience - 242,000 adults per week (RAJAR/Ipsos MORI/RSMB June 2011)

  • If you are a country music fan and value listening to any or ALL of the above programmes please make your feelings known by completing the sections in the BBC Trust consultation.
  • If you are a recording artist from the UK, Ireland, Europe, America, Canada or Australia and value the importance of country music programmes on the BBC in order to promote your music, make fans aware of your tour dates and build a radio profile then please ask your UK fanbases to complete the BBC Trust consultation.
  • If you are a promoter and understand how important country music programmes on the BBC are to help to represent your roster of artists please ask your UK contacts to complete the BBC Trust consultation.
  • If you are a country music publication or an online music retail store and believe the loss of country music programmes on the BBC will have a serious knock on effects then please ask your UK readership, email subscribers and contacts to complete the BBC Trust consultation.
Dates the Consultation is Open -  Runs from 6 Oct 2011 to 21 Dec 2011
BBC Statement: - We're also running a consultation about the proposed changes to the BBC's services and content. Some of the proposals made by BBC management as part of Delivering Quality First concern the future strategy of BBC Local Radio. Therefore questions relating to these proposals are asked as part of both consultations.

BBC Trust Consultation: Delivering Quality First
BBC Public Consultation – Tell Us What You Think
Make your protest known regarding BBC Local Radio cuts by completing the BBC Trusts consultation document online:
Please send your response by email to:
or by post to:
Local Radio Review
BBC Trust

180 Great Portland Street
London W1W 5QZ

1 comment:

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